Nintendo has a habit of building on old licenses that have been fan favorites for years, and the latest to receive the technology buffing is Mario Kart. The Nintendo 64 attempt at Mario Kart didn’t exactly receive the open arms and warm smiles from it’s fan base
that the original Mario Kart installments got, but with Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, it seems that Nintendo will be looking, and in most cases getting that long lost affection back.
The early build of Double Dash seemed surprisingly refined, and while all the racers and characters were seemingly unavailable there was still a rather long list of them to choose from spite it’s early state. There’s one real noticeable change to the mechanics of the game however, as Double Dash!! will have you select from two racers to use in a cart instead of one. Granted, it’s still a race to the finish line and there’s really no change in that respect, but there really can’t be as that’s always been the rules when one comes to think of something like a *race.* Surprisingly, and actually rather comically, Mario Kart Double Dash!! offers some depth in your selections as the larger participants aren’t allowed to fit into some of the smaller vehicles you’ll get to choose from. The sizes vary in both aspects, racers, and the vehicles. The racers available so far are some of the more recognizable figures through out Nintendos history, including Mario, Luigi, Daisy, Donkey Kong, Baby Mario, Diddy Jong, Baby Bowser, Bowser, Peach, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi and a couple of Koopa Troopas.
The power ups are still on the course as they always were, and most of the same power ups are still present in the game aside from some new changes to add some more diabolical options for you to gain the edge in your races. The most notable of changes is the addition of a special ability that’s unique pending upon which characters you have chosen to take part in the race, such as Mario and Luigi’s fireball attack, or as Peach and Daisy would prefer, you’ll be able to take more of a supportive and less harmful approach by using their power up to up their boosting speed for a short period of time. Double Dash!! seems to have taken a more competitive approach than it’s predecessors with new game play tweaks such as being able to switch your drivers back and forth in order to pick up power ups, this of course is because you’ll not be able to hold an unlimited amount of them, and all power ups will be able to be stolen by other participants you’re crashed in to on the transfer or otherwise.
The graphics are equally engaging and the Gamecube hardware is put to work well to support the lush three dimensional look that Double Dash!! flaunts. All the textures are smooth and the character models are smooth and good looking all while not escaping the crazy look that made these characters unique and famous to begin with. The tracks also have a crazy look to them, and that’s helped by all the background detail that’s both interactive and non interactive such as launchers that send you a country mile and visual pleasantries such as Volcanoes and a mass of flowers in the middle of the courses. The gameplay has a chance to be unmatched by any other Gamecube title on the market this summer, and Double Dash!! is as promising a game as they come. Look for this one to be shipped late summer.